THE WAIRAU ELECTION.
Thk Polling Day. The contest for a seat m the House of Representatives, for the district of Wairau was brought to a close on Saturday last. To those who remember the so-called "good old times," when conducted on the physical force principle, when bands of music headed ruffian mobs, when each candidate squandered, scores of pounds on flags and banners, and gay cockades, and brickbats and bludgeons were often the most convincing arguments to decide the question. To such, we say the affair ou Saturday might appear very tame and uninteresting, but there was a quiet seriousuess displayed, and fully corroborated by the result of tne election, that proved that each side was' in earnest m the endeavours to return, their man. The day was warm and bright, with a pleasant breeze ; and cabs and omnibusses flitting about, displaying the names of the respective candidates gave a tone of bustle to the usually quiet thoroughfares of Blenheim. About mid-day there was a lull and for aome half hour or so, a stranger might have crossed the Market Place without observing -any thin • unusual. Committee rooms had been engaged by both parties immediately opposite the Government Buildings, and these formed the centres of operation, and to which issued aud re-entered, from time to time, the aides de camps and leading spirits of the day. As the afternoon wore on the excitement became more palpable, and when the doors of the polling place were closed, the crowd gradually thickened, awaiting the announcement of the poll. At about a quarter to five the Retnrning Officer announced that ihe numbers were for Mr Seymour 12G, and for Mr Henderson 117, which was received with cheers from the friends of the respective " candidates. Mr Seymour then thanked the electors who had placed him } at the head of the poll, and expressed his conviction that the returns from the country.districts would confirm their decision. Mr Henderson also addressed a few words to the assembly, thanking his supporters, and expressing a hope that when the returns came m from the country, that he would be at the head of the poll. A few gentlemen of sporting tendency were trying to niake some betting on the final issue, but though odds had been taken on both sides during the clay, the backers of Mr Henderson began to fight shy, and very few bets were negociated except for "hedging." Afewminutea after the announcement of the Blenheim poll, a messenger arrived from Marlborough Town with the news that Mr Seymour had got a majority of only one. Some little anxiety was naturally felt for further intelligence, especially from Renwiek, as Mr Henderson's friends had reckoned on that as a little stronghold. At length the message came, "Majority for Mr Seymour, five." No doubt now remained as to the final result, and some of the crowd retired a good many, however, remained m and abou the square till after eight o'clock, about whic! time the returns from Awatere and ihe Waira Valley were made known, and by a few minut< after nine most people m the town -were awa; that Mr Seymour had a total majority of twenf three. ' i The official scrutiny took place on Mondt m the presence, of the Returning Officer and ■ scrutineers, and although there arose aome dov as to the accuracy of a vote at each of ti polling places, a crucial examination proved numbers to be as at first reported. Among' voting papers was one on which a crossed j about half an inch long had been made to name of George Henderson, and this Vf&i judged at the time to Mr Seymour, b 1 appears that the>:Returning Officer had j i sidered the matter, and cast it out as inf(
thereby reducing the majority of Mr Seymour to 22. The official Declaration op the Poll. Took place at the Council Chamber, Blenheim, yesterday, when aboutt»3o persons|were present. The Returning Officer said that the numbers had been stated as 126 for Mr Seymour and 117 for Mr Henderson, but as there was amongst the polling papers one which was informal, he had thrown it out, and consequently Mr Seymour's votes were reduced to 125. He then read out the numbers polled at the several polling places as follows : —
— Thus making Mr Seymour's majority 22. He had therefore to declare Mr Seymour- duly elected. Mr Seymour said lie rose with great satisfaction to thank the electors generally for placing him at the head of the poll ; the pleasure was so much the greater that this was the second time he had been placed m that honorable position ; he wished also to thank those who had fought the battle for him so manfully and under so many disadvantages m the absence of their candidate. There was some satisfaction too, that though the majority was not a large one, the nnmbers showed that he had received very general support, the only exception where Mr Henderson had the majority was m an outlyiag district where the numbers polled were but few, and it was also a i district which on former occasions had not given him many votes. He had come to the post, to use a familiar phrase, too heavily weighted, or rather it might be said that his opponent had been half round the course before he started. Mr Henderson had been able to make a personal cauvas of the whole district and he believed had done so ; for himself he had barely time to address the electorsat the principal places and some of them he had not been able to visit at all nor was that the only disadvantage, while Mr Henderson had the advantage of addressing all his meetings unanswered, he had taken the opportunity of speaking at each of his (Mr Seymour's) meetings, and his right and left hand men had- done the same. Mr Henderson and his right haudinan Mr Dodsonhad each two speeches to his one, leaving him no time to reply, and at the eleventh hour the left hand man Mr Godfrey was brought from Pictou to do his little bit against him. Mr Godfrey was the rejected , candidate of the adjoining constituency, who had been brought through to assist Mr Henderson, m fact he might call them Arcades ambo [ birds of ajfeather], and he congratulated,the electors of both constituencies that they had seen fit to return their old members. He did not think it desirable that a constituency should often change its representative. In consequence of his resignation it was true they had to choose another, but lie could hardly call Mr Ward a new or untried man ; he and Mr Ward had for years front to front fought the battle of provincial politics, and m byegone times he could recollact that this constituency was one which did not lightly change its representative. He concluded by expressing the hope that at some future day he should be able to stand again before them, having earned their approval for the past, and support for the future, (applause.) Mr Henderson said he did expect m standing there to be treated with magnaninity, but he did not think that magnanimity was one of Mr Seymour's faults. Mr Seymour belonged to a Class with whom it was considered a point of honor to show some consideration for a vanquished opponent. He thought however that Mr Seymour had attacked him unfairly and kicked him when he was down, and by doing so had shewn that he was not a worthy member of the class to which he belonged. He came forward as the humble reprerentative of the industrial c!ass and he thanked the gallant men who had fought on his side. He was a new man and he had come forward because he believed he had truth and justice on his side, and that if the electors could be convinced by the troths which he put before them that he shonld win the day, by his doing so the thin end of the wedge had beeninserted m the blockof provincialcorruption, and it would soon be split up and scattered to the winds. He used the word corruption advisedly, and could pnt his finger on the corruption to which he referred. He had inserted the thin end of the wedge, and he had almost driven it home, as was proved by the fact, that here m the very centre of official influence, his oppouent had only abtained a .Majority of nine, aud m Marlborough Town only one. He congratulated the gallant little knot of seven m the Wairau Valley who had been true to themselves, and took great credit to himself for having stood against the prestige and influence of one who harl been for eight years the Superintendent, and had also been m Parliament before. He said so great had been the want of faith on the part of the people m those who harl the power, that many had feared to act independently, and ta record their votes. They trembled because they had no faith m the men m whose hands the voting papers would lie. The party m whom the people had no faith would soon be broken up ; the weight of their own misdeeds would crush them before long. He concluded his oration by saying that all the honor and Mat of the contest rested with his friends and himself. (Laughter and applause.) Mr Seymour moved a vote of thanks to the Returning Officer, which was seconded by Mr Henderson, and the meeting separated.
Seymour. Henderson. Blenheim 125 117 Renwick .. 24 19 Maylborbugh Town ... 32 31 Wairau Valley 3 7 Awatere ... 14 2 Kekerangu 3 3 201 17!)
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THE WAIRAU ELECTION., Marlborough Express, Volume XI, Issue 785, 2 February 1876
THE WAIRAU ELECTION. Marlborough Express, Volume XI, Issue 785, 2 February 1876
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